In Which I Bomb my Language Test

In life you get what you earn. And today, I did not pass my language test. Granted I am an officer and it is a skill no longer required for my job, I still felt, had I worked harder, I could have passed it. I’ve taken the DLPT sixteen times and only bombed, this time included, three times. I’ve had high scores, but not today. I am consoling myself with the fact that I almost passed after doing very little preparation.

I will say this, the Lance Corporal sitting next to me had his Tagalog up very loudly, but I won’t use that as an excuse. Nor will I complain that he kept shaking my chair. I had to bark at him once to settle down, he was super antsy.

I also had an interesting run-in with the test proctor which proved again how inaccurate the term racist could be. She was a young, Hispanic lady who was very gruff with me. I noticed she was far more pleasant with an Air Force Airman who was taking the Spanish test. He was Hispanic too. I chalked up her surliness to racism against a gringo. When I was going to get my scores, she said something about calling Marine Corps Command to get a waiver to take the test again in three months. (Rather than the traditional six month waiting period.) I reminded her I was in the Navy and suddenly she was quite a bit more relaxed and friendly. So her front had nothing to do with race and everything to do with service. (I was not in uniform, choosing instead to take the test in civvies.)

I’ll get it next time. I’ve hardly practiced my Arabic reading and going through those passages was rough. The reading section is three hours, as is the listening. I felt like I had been thrown under one of these when I was done. Two more languages left…

The Little Screaming Fact

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. –John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

The Marine Corps DISTRESS Line

The Marine Corps DSTRESS Line can help address some of the issues in our military. The line is a 24/7, anonymous phone and chat counseling service with a ‘Marine-to-Marine’ approach.  The call center is staffed with veteran Marines, former FMF Corpsmen, Marine Corps family members, and licensed clinicians with specific training in Marine Corps culture.

Fitty Cent Rages On

The shooting match about whether Fifty Cent was wrong to wear a Marine Corps dress uniform continues at my prior post. Folks drop by and try to wave the First Amendment. Or use false arguments, like I am condemning all artist (actors, musicians, etc) who wear the uniform. The issue is not the art. It is respect. Sure, wear dress blues if you are an actor. But wear it properly. The way Fifty Cent wears it is highly disrespectful.

Lift with Your Lance Corporals

I work with a Marine Corps Master Sergeant whose desk is adorned with a sign that says: Don’t lift with your back, lift with your Lance Corporals.

The Marines certainly have all sorts of snappy slogans:

The View Never Changes. USMC

I must thank America’s Sergeant Major for the tip. Despite the very personal fact that he just started his latest post with We are pretty hard on new Lieutenants. . .

Marine Stands Guard at Gower Elementary

SSgt Pritchard

SSgt Pritchard

Marine Staff Sergeant Jordan Pritchard has a unique way of combatting the stress that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre inspired in parents across the country.

The Staff Sergeant has two children at Gower Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee. Some local parents like what he is doing, but the Marine Corps certainly does not. Nor does NCIS, who has warned him about his activity.

The Post That Requires No Intro

Q: How do I tell my parents I want to join the Marine Corps?
A: Walk in the door dressed in all camo, with a air soft gun and just light up the joint. they will get the idea.
A: Shave you’re head, walk in the house and say “hooooooraaaaa”
A: Just pull on your big boy undies and tell them…Believe me..when you are out of the house and they aren’t buying a gallon of milk a day and aren’t being nickle-and-dimed to death for pocket money every time they turn around and your old man can use your tuition money on a new Harley he always wanted because you have the GI Bill for college…. They will understand…

Got Lime Disease?

USMC Lime Disease

Kids, teenagers, young adults trying to join the Marine Corps have all sorts of questions. Like whether having a weakness for limes is a non-starter for the Devil Dogs:

Does this diqualify you from the Marine Corps?

I am 12 years old and I might have Lime’s Disease. By “might” I mean I just had a blood test to see and we are waiting for the results. Does a history of Lime’s Disease disqualify you from the Marine Corps? Thanks!

By lime disease, I wonder if he/she is referring to a delicious Chili-Lime Chicken Kabob:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • skewers


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Season with chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the sauce, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear.

If so, I may be cursed/blessed with this particular affliction as well. Although I suppose lyme disease is no laughing matter. Nor a kabobing manner either. . .

A United States Marine Looks Back

Despite the jokes on these “pages,” I’ve nothing but respect for the Marine Corps. Going back early in my memory banks, a glimpse of Camp Lejeune sits. All happy. My father, in the Navy, was stationed there when I was a baby. I don’t remember if we just drove through at a later date and I have this memory of trees from then. But still, it is an early memory and I save it like an old fuzzy polaroid.

Also saving his memories is OkieRover, who joined the Marine Corps (Department of the Navy) thirty years ago:

My heart will always be draped in dress blue. I wasn’t the best Marine. I was not a poster Marine like my good friend Jason, who in 2008 was promoted to E-9, Master Gunnery Sergeant. I didn’t always fit in, but I love being a Marine. The looks of surprise on people’s faces upon them learning that I was a Marine still entertain me. Each and every day I wake up and know that no matter what I may encounter, I am a Marine, and I can adapt and overcome whatever life presents me.

God bless our Corps and God bless the United States of America.

Most definitely, God bless the United States of America.

Different Weight Regs by Service

Each military service has different weight regulations that their members must abide by. And (surprise) our sea-faring Navy is smack in the middle:

Q: What are the actual weight requirements for United States Navy?

OK, this is really not a big deal to me, I am just curious because I am joining the Navy in 1 year after I graduate high school. Anyways, I am 5’6” (66 inches) tall and weigh 155 lbs. On the internet, it says that my maximum weight is 170 pounds. The thing is, my twin brother ( same height and weight) went to the Marine recruiter and I was with him (he tried getting me to join but I didn’t) and he said my maximum weight was 190 pounds. To me, that doesn’t seem right that the Navy has a stricter weight limit than the Marine Corps? Can anyone clear this up to me. Thanks.

A: Marines is 191. AF and Navy is 170. Army is 160. Each branch sets their own standards.

I am not “checking the experts work.” But I assume he knows what he is talking about. It makes sense, after all, that the services derive their own regulations. I am surprised that the Army is so low. I’ve seen some of those “Specialists.”

Some Forces Are More Special Than Others

Yes, these are Libyan Special Forces. Observe their Marine Corps-ish camouflage. (And camo t-shirts.) Cringe at their Facebook-like poses. Ignore the cover on backwards:

Newly graduated members of the special forces of the Libyan Navy celebrate on the street after their graduation ceremony in Tripoli, July 3, 2012

Boston Cops on the USS Wasp

Yes, these are cops on motorcycles riding into the hangar bay of the USS Wasp. Let’s hope they don’t stay there for the next deployment:

Boston police officers ride their duty motorcycles in the hanger bay of USS Wasp (LHD 1) during Boston Navy Week 2012. This celebration is one of 15 signature events planned across America in 2012. The eight-day long event commemorates the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, hosting service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and coalition ships from around the world.